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"You're acting so cranky, it must be that time of the month for you."
We get that a lot, don't we?
Have you wondered what really gets us so ticked off at this time?
Undoubtedly, it's the hormones. And all the pain that comes with it.
What Is A Menstrual Cycle?
It is a natural cycle of changes that occur in the ovaries and uterus part of the female reproductive system specifically, that makes pregnancy possible. These changes are kick-started after the on-set of puberty.
The lining of the uterus that has prepared itself to receive the embryo is shed if the embryo is not received. This shedding of the thick lining is what the menstrual cycle is.
The lining of the uterus produces chemicals called Prostaglandins. These chemicals are associated with the discomfort during the menstrual cycle. They stimulate the contraction of the uterine muscles.
Menstrual cramps are a result of the painful or excessive contraction of the uterine muscles. These muscles press against the blood vessels. When this pressure is continuous, the oxygen supply is cut off to the uterus. The lack of oxygen causes pain and cramps.
Cramps could range from a slight discomfort to severe pain. They are usually concentrated to the back and abdomen. The scientific name given to these cramps is "Dysmenorrhea."
It can get really tiring and annoying to deal with the mood swings, food cravings, the need to stay hygienic, diarrhea or upset stomach, pain throughout the body, and to top it all, cramps. And taking a painkiller for five days a month, every month, is not advisable at all.
There are things you can do to relieve menstrual pains, which are as follows:
1. Get A Hot Bag:
Applying heat to your lower belly or abdomen works wonders! It helps the body stay loose and keeps the cramps at bay. A hot water bag filled with water or a stone pillow can be used to apply heat. Stone pillows have small stones that massage the belly and keep it away from cramping.
Ever wondered when was the right time to pamper yourself with a massage? Think no further. It is this time that your body requires some serious relaxation and so does your mind. A massage lasting 15 minutes that focuses on the abdomen, back and the sides is shown to reduce cramps by 90%. Add an extra touch by using essential oils for the massage. Use a base oil like olive oil or coconut oil with a few drops of the essential oil to massage the same areas. This aromatherapy has an added benefit of relaxing your mind too.
3. Foods To Avoid:
It is best to avoid foods that cause water retention or bloating of the stomach. Foods like carbonated drinks, caffeine, fatty foods, foods with excess salt and alcohol are best avoided. These foods mess with your blood sugar levels and also worsen those cramps.
Of course. This had to make to the list. Any physical exercise that keeps your body fit, keeps your muscles healthy too. Healthy muscles means less painful contractions of the uterine muscles. This exercise needs to be done before the on-set of the periods. A walk or some relaxing Yoga during the periods is a very good idea. Exercise releases the Endorphins that keep the mind happy and menstrual symptoms at bay.
5. An Orgasm:
As ridiculous as it may sound, an orgasm during your periods is a fantastic idea! I know, some guys aren't up to the necessary action because of the mess. Well, why not take matters into your own hands? Vaginal orgasms engage the entire nervous system, starting from the spinal cord to every last nerve down your body. This triggers a release of the neurotransmitters like Oxytocin and Endorphins. And these neurotransmitters are the happy hormones, they reduce the perception of pain throughout the body. Thus, bye, bye cramps!
Herbs contain anti-inflammatory compounds, which as the name literally suggests, reduce inflammation in the body. They also contain antispasmodic compounds that avoid spasms in muscles, thus promoting a normal cycle of contractions of the uterine muscles. Dill leaves or dill seeds, ginger, chamomile tea and fennel seeds are very common items that can be found and help a great deal during this time.
All you want to do at this time is eat all the junk you can lay your hands on. Try consuming a diet rich in fibre, vitamins, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Foods like papaya, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, brown rice, olive oil, leafy greens, flax seeds, fish and chicken contain these. A light vegetarian diet is also considered a good option.